Begin With The End In Mind. What is it that you want to accomplish during the holiday season? As believers, our passion is to reflect on the blessings God has bestowed on us and to celebrate the birth of our Savior but isn't it amazing how that all becomes entangled in the culture of the season? So, we must be diligent about what our family will focus on in the coming days.
- The holidays to reflect our family's beliefs
- For Thanksgiving, we start off November with an empty bowl on the table with pieces of paper and pens next to the bowl. Everyone is encouraged to daily write something they are thankful for and then place it in the bowl. This goes for those who are guests as well. While at the Thanksgiving table, we read through all the pieces and share in the amazing goodness of our Lord.
- For both holidays, our home is decorated with items that represent the message of Jesus and WHO we are celebrating. This helps us keep the focus where it should be, on Him. It also reads loud and clear to all who enter our home that we celebrate the Lord.
- This year for Christmas our family has decided to share our blessings. The adults will not exchange gifts with each other, instead, we will find a family or person in need and bless them with what we would have spent on the gifts. On Christmas eve we are going to have our traditional Mac-N-Cheese bar and share the stories of who we were able to bless. The smaller children will continue to receive gifts. :-)
- Low stress
- We will build a margin early. We will decide how many events and nights a week we will attend holiday events/activities. This will keep our calendar from getting jam packed and ourselves from getting stretched too thin. (Peace is hard to find when we are over-committed!)
- Finances are another HUGE stressor for many families. Take a look at your budget this week and determine how much your family can truly spend without going in debt and set the boundary AND stick to the number!
Truly, time spent with family and friends is what is so precious during the holidays; don't be misled that it's about how much you spend or the number of gifts under the tree. One year our family had a book exchange - we shared a book that we really enjoyed, or one that challenged us, or one we grew from. We would all share what made the book special and then it went into a pile and we all picked the book we wanted.
One year, early on in our marriage, we gave Ashley a used kitchen set that was pretty beat up. Kevin and I worked on it and bought just a few little pieces for "cooking." She was thrilled and played with it for hours!
- To maintain good health
- If necessary, get an accountability partner for this one. Someone who may be attending some activities with you that will hold you accountable to healthy choices. One that will meet you for exercise or one who will encourage the healthy choices at a party.
- Remember why we are doing all of this......to celebrate Him. Try to make the events and times together about the people and not the food as much. Spend time around the table with good friends and family soaking in God's goodness and blessings.
- Have pre-cut veggies and fruit and skim cheeses readily available in your fridge so you can grab and go. Eat these on your way to your festivities and you won't be as likely to eat your way through the buffet!
So, begin with the end in mind. Come January 2015 we all want to reminisce of the warm and peaceful holiday season and feel good about our choices; our families will have grown closer together and closer to the One whom it is all about anyway!
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
Please share with us the different ways your family keeps calm and peaceful during the season!